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Search and Seizures Case Digests

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Burgos v. Chief of Staff, AFP [GR 64261, 26 December 1984] En Banc, Escolin (J): 10 concur, 1 took no part Facts: On 7 December 1982, Judge Ernani Cruz-Paño, Executive Judge of the then CFI Rizal [Quezon City], issued 2 search warrants where the premises at 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the “Metropolitan Mail” and “We Forum” newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to be in the possession and control of Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the “We Forum” newspaper, were seized. A petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction was filed after 6 months following the raid to question the validity of said search warrants, and to enjoin the Judge Advocate General of the AFP, the city fiscal of Quezon City, et.al. from using the articles seized as evidence in Criminal Case Q-022782 of the RTC Quezon City (People v. Burgos). Issue: Whether allegations of possession and printing of subversive materials may be the basis of the issuance of search warrants. Held: Section 3 provides that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. In mandating that “no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce”; the Constitution requires no less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. Herein, a statement in the effect that Burgos “is in possession or has in his control printing equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and are all continuously being used as a means of committing the offense of subversion punishable under PD 885, as amended” is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant. Further, when the search warrant applied for is directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials, the application and/or its supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice. People vs. Chua Ho San [GR 128222, 17 June 1999] En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 13 concur, 1 on leave Facts: In response to reports of rampant smuggling of firearms and other contraband, Jim Lagasca Cid, as Chief of Police of the Bacnotan Police Station, of La Union began patrolling the Bacnotan coastline with his officers. While monitoring the coastal area of Barangay Bulala
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Burgos v. Chief of Staff, AFP [GR 64261, 26 December 1984] En Banc, Escolin (J): 10 concur, 1 took no part Facts: On 7 December 1982, Judge Ernani CruzPao, Executive Judge of the then CFI Rizal [Quezon City], issued 2 search warrants where the premises at 19, Road 3, Project 6, Quezon City, and 784 Units C & D, RMS Building, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, business addresses of the Metropolitan Mail and We Forum newspapers, respectively, were searched, and office and printing machines, equipment, paraphernalia, motor vehicles and other articles used in the printing, publication and distribution of the said newspapers, as well as numerous papers, documents, books and other written literature alleged to be in the possession and control of Jose Burgos, Jr. publisher-editor of the We Forum newspaper, were seized. A petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction was filed after 6 months following the raid to question the validity of said search warrants, and to enjoin the Judge Advocate General of the AFP, the city fiscal of Quezon City, et.al. from using the articles seized as evidence in Criminal Case Q-022782 of the RTC Quezon City (People v. Burgos). Issue: Whether allegations of possession and printing of subversive materials may be the basis of the issuance of search warrants. Held: Section 3 provides that no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, or such other responsible officer as may be authorized by law, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Probable cause for a search is defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably

discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. In mandating that no warrant shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined by the judge, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce; the Constitution requires no less than personal knowledge by the complainant or his witnesses of the facts upon which the issuance of a search warrant may be justified. Herein, a statement in the effect that Burgos is in possession or has in his control printing equipment and other paraphernalia, news publications and other documents which were used and are all continuously being used as a means of committing the offense of subversion punishable under PD 885, as amended is a mere conclusion of law and does not satisfy the requirements of probable cause. Bereft of such particulars as would justify a finding of the existence of probable cause, said allegation cannot serve as basis for the issuance of a search warrant. Further, when the search warrant applied for is directed against a newspaper publisher or editor in connection with the publication of subversive materials, the application and/or its supporting affidavits must contain a specification, stating with particularity the alleged subversive material he has published or is intending to publish. Mere generalization will not suffice.

People vs. Chua Ho San [GR 128222, 17 June 1999] En Banc, Davide Jr. (CJ): 13 concur, 1 on leave Facts: In response to reports of rampant smuggling of firearms and other contraband, Jim Lagasca Cid, as Chief of Police of the Bacnotan Police Station, of La Union began patrolling the Bacnotan coastline with his officers. While

monitoring the coastal area of Barangay Bulala on 29 March 1995, he intercepted a radio call at around 12:45 p.m. from Barangay Captain Juan Almoite of Barangay Tammocalao requesting police assistance regarding an unfamiliar speedboat the latter had spotted, which looked different from the boats ordinarily used by fisherfolk of the area and was poised to dock at Tammocalao shores. Cid and 6 of his men led by his Chief Investigator, SPO1 Reynoso Badua, proceeded forthwith to Tammocalao beach, conferred with Almoite, and observed that the speedboat ferried a lone male passenger. When the speedboat landed, the male passenger alighted, and using both hands, carried what appeared a multicolored strawbag, and walked towards the road. By this time, Almoite, Cid and Badua, the latter two conspicuous in their uniform and issued side-arms, became suspicious of the man as he suddenly changed direction and broke into a run upon seeing the approaching officers. Badua, prevented the man from fleeing by holding on to his right arm. Although Cid introduced themselves as police officers, the man appeared impassive. Speaking in English, then in Tagalog, and later in Ilocano, Cid then requested the man to open his bag, but he seemed not to understand. Cid then resorted to sign language, motioning with his hands for the man to open the bag. The man apparently understood and acceded to the request. A search of the bag yielded several transparent plastic packets containing yellowish crystalline substances. As Cid wished to proceed to the police station, he signaled the man to follow, but the latter did not comprehend. Hence, Cid placed his arm around the shoulders of the man and escorted the latter to the police headquarters. At the police station, Cid then recited and informed the man of his constitutional rights to remain silent, to have the assistance of a counsel, etc. Eliciting no response from the man, Cid ordered his men to find a resident of the area who spoke Chinese to

act as an interpreter. In the meantime, Badua opened the bag and counted 29 plastic packets containing yellowish crystalline substances. The interpreter, Mr. Go Ping Guan, finally arrived, through whom the man was apprised of his constitutional rights. When the policemen asked the man several questions, he retreated to his obstinate reticence and merely showed his ID with the name Chua Ho San printed thereon. Chuas bag and its contents were sent to the PNP Crime Laboratory at Camp Diego Silang, Carlatan, San Fernando, La Union for laboratory examination. In the meantime, Chua was detained at the Bacnotan Police Station. Later, Police Chief Inspector and Forensic Chemist Theresa Ann Bugayong Cid (wife of Cid), conducted a laboratory examination of 29 plastic packets, adn in her Chemistry Report D-025-95, she stated that her qualitative examination established the contents of the plastic packets, weighing 28.7 kilos, to be positive of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a regulated drug. Chua was initially charged with illegal possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride before the RTC (Criminal Case 4037). However, pursuant to the recommendation of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of San Fernando, La Union, the information was subsequently amended to allege that Chua was in violation of Section 15, Article III of RA 6425 as amended by RA 7659 (illegal transport of a regulated drug). At his arraignment on 31 July 1995, where the amended complaint was read to him by a Fukien-speaking interpreter, Chua entered a plea of not guilty. Trial finally ensued, with interpreters assigned to Chua (upon the RTCs direct request to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, after its failure to acquire one from the Department of Foreign Affairs). Chua provided a completely different story, claiming that the bags belong to his employer Cho Chu Rong, who he accompanied in the speedboat; that they decided to dock

when they were low on fuel and telephone battery; that the police, with nary any spoken word but only gestures and hand movements, escorted him to the precinct where he was handcuffed and tied to a chair; that the police, led by an officer, arrived with the motor engine of the speedboat and a bag, which they presented to him; that the police inspected opened the bag, weighed the contents, then proclaimed them as methamphetamine hydrochloride. In a decision promulgated on 10 February 1997, the RTC convicted Chua for transporting 28.7 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride without legal authority to do so. Chua prays for the reversal of the RTC decision and his acquittal before the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether persistent reports of rampant smuggling of firearm and other contraband articles, Chuas watercraft differing in appearance from the usual fishing boats that commonly cruise over the Bacnotan seas, Chuas illegal entry into the Philippines, Chuas suspicious behavior, i.e. he attempted to flee when he saw the police authorities, and the apparent ease by which Chua can return to and navigate his speedboat with immediate dispatch towards the high seas, constitute probable cause. Held: No. Enshrined in the Constitution is the inviolable right to privacy of home and person. It explicitly ordains that people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose. Inseparable, and not merely corollary or incidental to said right and equally hallowed in and by the Constitution, is the exclusionary principle which decrees that any evidence obtained in violation of said right is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. The Constitutional proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures does not, of course, forestall reasonable searches and seizure. This

interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures, however, is not absolute and such warrantless searches and seizures have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence. The Rules of Court recognize permissible warrantless arrests, to wit: (1) arrests in flagrante delicto, (2) arrests effected in hot pursuit, and (3) arrests of escaped prisoners. The prosecution and the defense painted extremely divergent versions of the incident, but the Court is certain that Chua was arrested and his bag searched without the benefit of a warrant. There are no facts on record reasonably suggestive or demonstrative of Chuas participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise that could have spurred police officers from conducting the obtrusive search. The RTC never took the pains of pointing to such facts, but predicated mainly its decision on the finding that accused was caught red-handed carrying the bagful of shabu when apprehended. In short, there is no probable cause. Persistent reports of rampant smuggling of firearm and other contraband articles, Chuas watercraft differing in appearance from the usual fishing boats that commonly cruise over the Bacnotan seas, Chuas illegal entry into the Philippines, Chuas suspicious behavior, i.e. he attempted to flee when he saw the police authorities, and the apparent ease by which Chua can return to and navigate his speedboat with immediate dispatch towards the high seas, do not constitute probable cause. None of the telltale clues, e.g., bag or package emanating the pungent odor of marijuana or other prohibited drug, 20 confidential report and/or positive identification by informers of courier(s) of prohibited drug and/or the time and place where they will transport/deliver the same, suspicious demeanor or behavior and suspicious bulge in the waist accepted by the Court as sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest exists in the case. There was no classified information that a foreigner would disembark at Tammocalao beach bearing

prohibited drug on the date in question. Chua was not identified as a drug courier by a police informer or agent. The fact that the vessel that ferried him to shore bore no resemblance to the fishing boats of the area did not automatically mark him as in the process of perpetrating an offense. The search cannot therefore be denominated as incidental to an arrest. To reiterate, the search was not incidental to an arrest. There was no warrant of arrest and the warrantless arrest did not fall under the exemptions allowed by the Rules of Court as already shown. From all indications, the search was nothing but a fishing expedition. Casting aside the regulated substance as evidence, the same being the fruit of a poisonous tree, the remaining evidence on record are insufficient, feeble and ineffectual to sustain Chuas conviction.

People vs. Molina [GR 133917, 19 February 2001] En Banc, Ynares-Santiago (J): 14 concur Facts: Sometime in June 1996, SPO1 Marino Paguidopon, then a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) detailed at Precinct No. 3, Matina, Davao City, received an information regarding the presence of an alleged marijuana pusher in Davao City. The first time he came to see the said marijuana pusher in person was during the first week of July 1996. SPO1 Paguidopon was then with his informer when a motorcycle passed by. His informer pointed to the motorcycle driver, Gregorio Mula y Malagura (@Boboy), as the pusher. As to Nasario Molina y Manamat (@ Bobong), SPO1 Paguidopon had no occasion to see him prior to 8 August 1996. At about 7:30 a.m. of 8 August 1996, SPO1 Paguidopon received an information that the alleged pusher will be passing at NHA, Maa, Davao City any time that morning.

Consequently, at around 8:00 a.m. he called for assistance at the PNP, Precinct 3, Matina, Davao City, which immediately dispatched the team of SPO4 Dionisio Cloribel (team leader), SPO2 Paguidopon (brother of SPO1 Marino Paguidopon), and SPO1 Pamplona, to proceed to the house of SPO1 Marino Paguidopon where they would wait for the alleged pusher to pass by. At around 9:30 a.m., while the team were positioned in the house of SPO1 Paguidopon, a trisikad carrying Mula and Molina passed by. At that instance, SPO1 Paguidopon pointed to Mula and Molina as the pushers. Thereupon, the team boarded their vehicle and overtook the trisikad. SPO1 Paguidopon was left in his house, 30 meters from where Mula and Molina were accosted. The police officers then ordered the trisikad to stop. At that point, Mula, who was holding a black bag, handed the same to Molina. Subsequently, SPO1 Pamplona introduced himself as a police officer and asked Molina to open the bag. Molina replied, Boss, if possible we will settle this. SPO1 Pamplona insisted on opening the bag, which revealed dried marijuana leaves inside. Thereafter, Mula and Molina were handcuffed by the police officers. On 6 December 1996, the accused Mula and Molina, through counsel, jointly filed a Demurrer to Evidence, contending that the marijuana allegedly seized from them is inadmissible as evidence for having been obtained in violation of their constitutional right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The demurrer was denied by the trial court. A motion for reconsideration was filed by the accused, but this was likewise denied. The accused waived presentation of evidence and opted to file a joint memorandum. On 25 April 1997, the trial court rendered the decision, finding the accused guilty of the offense charged, and sentenced both to suffer the penalty of death by lethal injection. Pursuant to Article 47 of the Revised Penal Code and Rule 122, Section 10 of the Rules of Court, the case

was elevated to the Supreme Court on automatic review. Issue: Whether Mula and Molina manifested outward indication that would justify their arrest, and the seizure of prohibited drugs that were in their possession. Held: The fundamental law of the land mandates that searches and seizures be carried out in a reasonable fashion, that is, by virtue or on the strength of a search warrant predicated upon the existence of a probable cause. Complementary to the foregoing provision is the exclusionary rule enshrined under Article III, Section 3, paragraph 2, which bolsters and solidifies the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. The foregoing constitutional proscription, however, is not without exceptions. Search and seizure may be made without a warrant and the evidence obtained therefrom may be admissible in the following instances: (1) search incident to a lawful arrest; (2) search of a moving motor vehicle; (3) search in violation of customs laws; (4) seizure of evidence in plain view; (5) when the accused himself waives his right against unreasonable searches and seizures; and (6) stop and frisk situations (Terry search). The first exception (search incidental to a lawful arrest) includes a valid warrantless search and seizure pursuant to an equally valid warrantless arrest which must precede the search. Still, the law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a search can be made the process cannot be reversed. Herein, Mula and Molina manifested no outward indication that would justify their arrest. In holding a bag on board a trisikad, they could not be said to be committing, attempting to commit or have committed a crime. It matters not that Molina responded Boss, if possible we will settle this to the request of SPO1 Pamplona to open the bag. Such response which allegedly reinforced the suspicion of the arresting officers that Mula and Molina were

committing a crime, is an equivocal statement which standing alone will not constitute probable cause to effect an in flagrante delicto arrest. Note that were it not for SPO1 Marino Paguidopon, Mula and Molina could not be the subject of any suspicion, reasonable or otherwise. Further, it would appear that the names and addresses of Mula and Molina came to the knowledge of SPO1 Paguidopon only after they were arrested, and such cannot lend a semblance of validity on the arrest effected by the peace officers. Withal, the Court holds that the arrest of Mula and Molina does not fall under the exceptions allowed by the rules. Hence, the search conducted on their person was likewise illegal. Consequently, the marijuana seized by the peace officers could not be admitted as evidence against them.

Prudente vs. Dayrit [GR 82870, 14 December 1989] En Banc, Padilla (J): 14 concur Facts: On 31 October 1987, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw, Chief of the Intelligence Special Action Division (ISAD) of the Western Police District (WPD), filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 33, presided over by Judge Abelardo Dayrit, now Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals, an application for the issuance of a search warrant (Search Warrant 87-14) for violation of Presidential Decree 1866 (Illegal Possession of Firearms, etc.) entitled People of the Philippines vs. Nemesio E. Prudente. On the same day, the Judge issued the Search Warrant, commanding Dimagmaliw to make an immediate search at any time in the day or night of the premises of Polytechnic University of the Philippines, more particularly (a) offices of the Department of Military Science and Tactics at the ground floor and other rooms at the ground floor; (b) office of the President,

Dr. Nemesio Prudente at PUP, Second Floor and other rooms at the second floor, and forthwith seize and take possession of the following personal properties, to wit: (a) M 16 Armalites with ammunition; (b) .38 and .45 Caliber handguns and pistols; (c) explosives and hand grenades; and (d) assorted weapons with ammunitions. On 1 November 1987, a Sunday and All Saints Day, the search warrant was enforced by some 200 WPD operatives led by P/Col. Edgar Dula Torre, Deputy Superintendent, WPD, and P/Major Romeo Maganto, Precinct 8 Commander. In his affidavit, dated 2 November 1987, Ricardo Abando y Yusay, a member of the searching team, alleged that he found in the drawer of a cabinet inside the wash room of Dr. Prudentes office a bulging brown envelope with 3 live fragmentation hand grenades separately wrapped with old newspapers. On 6 November 1987, Prudente moved to quash the search warrant. He claimed that (1) the complainants lone witness, Lt. Florenio C. Angeles, had no personal knowledge of the facts which formed the basis for the issuance of the search warrant; (2) the examination of the said witness was not in the form of searching questions and answers; (3) the search warrant was a general warrant, for the reason that it did not particularly describe the place to be searched and that it failed to charge one specific offense; and (4) the search warrant was issued in violation of Circular 19 of the Supreme Court in that the complainant failed to allege under oath that the issuance of the search warrant on a Saturday was urgent. On 9 March 1988, the Judge issued an order, denying Prudentes motion and supplemental motion to quash. Prudentes motion for reconsideration was likewise denied in the order dated 20 April 1988. Prudente filed a petition for certiorari with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the allegations contained in the application of P/ Major Alladin Dimagmaliw and the declaration of P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles in his

deposition were sufficient basis for the issuance of a valid search warrant. Held: The probable cause for a valid search warrant, has been defined as such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed, and that objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. This probable cause must be shown to be within the personal knowledge of the complainant or the witnesses he may produce and not based on mere hearsay. Thus, for a valid search warrant to issue, there must be probable cause, which is to be determined personally by the judge, after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. The probable cause must be in connection with one specific offense,and the judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and any witness he may produce, on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements together with any affidavits submitted. Herein, in his application for search warrant, P/Major Alladin Dimagmaliw stated that he has been informed that Nemesio Prudente has in his control and possession the firearms and explosives described therein, and that he has verified the report and found it to be a fact. On the other hand, in his supporting deposition, P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles declared that, as a result of their continuous surveillance for several days, they gathered informations from verified sources that the holders of the said firearms and explosives are not licensed to possess them. In other words, the applicant and his witness had no personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances which became the basis for issuing the questioned search warrant, but acquired knowledge thereof only through

information from other sources or persons. While it is true that in his application for search warrant, applicant P/Major Dimagmaliw stated that he verified the information he had earlier received that petitioner had in his possession and custody the firearms and explosives described in the application, and that he found it to be a fact, yet there is nothing in the record to show or indicate how and when said applicant verified the earlier information acquired by him as to justify his conclusion that he found such information to be a fact. He might have clarified this point if there had been searching questions and answers, but there were none. In fact, the records yield no questions and answers, whether searching or not, vis-a-vis the said applicant. Evidently, the allegations contained in the application of P/ Major Alladin Dimagmaliw and the declaration of P/Lt. Florenio C. Angeles in his deposition were insufficient basis for the issuance of a valid search warrant.

Chia vs. Acting Collector of Customs [GR L43810, 26 September 1989] First Division, Grino-Aquino (J): 4 concur Facts: Acting on a verified report of a confidential informant that assorted electronic and electrical equipment and other articles illegally imported into the Philippines by a syndicate engaged in unlawful shipside activities (foreign goods are unloaded from foreign ships in transit through Philippine waters into motorized bancas and landed on Philippine soil without passing through the Bureau of Customs, thereby evading payment of the corresponding customs duties and taxes thereon) were found inside Toms Electronics and Sony Merchandising (Philippines) stores located at 690 and 691 Gonzalo Puyat corner Evangelista Street, Quiapo, Manila, a letter-

request dated 23 April 1976 was addressed to the Collector of Customs by the Deputy Director of the Regional Anti-Smuggling Action Center, Manila Bay Area (RASAC-MBA) for the issuance of warrants of seizure and detention. After evaluation, the Collector of Customs issued Warrants of Seizure and Detention 14925 and 14925-A, directing the Anti-Smuggling Action Center to seize the goods mentioned therein, i.e. various electronic equipments like cassette tape recorders, car stereos, phonograph needles (diamond), portable TV sets, imported long playing records, spare parts of TVs and radios and other electrical appliances. A RASAC team was formed and given a mission order to enforce the warrants, which it implemented with the assistance of: (1) the National Customs Police (augmenting the team with 2 members), (2) the Detective Bureau of the Manila Western Police District Headquarters (with 3 detectives), as well as, (3) Precinct 3 of the Manila Western Police District which exercised jurisdictional control over the place to be raided. The intended raid was entered in the respective police blotters of the police detective bureaus. On the strength of the warrants of seizure and detention, the raid was conducted in the afternoon of 25 April 1976 at the 2 stores of Tomas Chia. ASAC team leader Gener Sula, together with his agents Badron Dobli, Arturo Manuel, Rodolfo Molina and Servillano Florentin of Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, assisted by two customs policemen, Val Martinez and Renato Sorima, and Manila policemen Rogelio Vinas and John Peralta, recovered from the stores, assorted electronic equipment and other articles, the customs duties on which allegedly had not been paid. They were turned over to the Customs Auction and Cargo Disposal Unit of the Bureau of Customs. On 17 May 1976, in the afternoon, the hearing officer of Acting Collector of Customs Alfredo Francisco conducted a hearing on the confiscation of the goods taken by Gener Sula and his agents. 2 days later, Chia

filed the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus before the Supreme Court to enjoin the Collector of Customs and/or his agents from further proceeding with the forfeiture hearing and prayed that the search warrants be declared null and void, that the latter be ordered to return the confiscated articles to Chia, and to pay damages. Issue: Whether the warrants issued by the Collector of Customs partakes the nature of a general warrants, and thus are invalid. Held: Not only may goods be seized without a search and seizure warrant under Section 2536 of the Customs and Tariff Code, when they (the goods) are openly offered for sale or kept in storage in a store as herein, but the fact is that Chias stores Toms Electronics and Sony Merchandising (Phil.) were searched upon warrants of search and detention issued by the Collector of Customs, who, under the 1973 Constitution, was a responsible officer authorized by law to issue them. Sections 2208 and 2209 of the Tariff and Customs Code provide when a search may be made without a warrant and when a warrant is necessary. Section 2208 provides that For the more effective discharge of his official duties, any person exercising the powers herein conferred, may at any time enter, pass through or search any land or inclosure or any warehouse, store or other building, not being a dwelling house. A warehouse, store or other building or inclosure used for the keeping or storage of articles does not become a dwelling house within the meaning hereof merely by reason of the fact that a person employed as watchman lives in the place, nor will the fact that his family stays there with him alter the case. On the other hand, Section 2209 provides that A dwelling house may be entered and searched only upon warrant issued by a Judge of the court or such other responsible officers as may be authorized by law, upon sworn application showing

probable cause and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized. The warrants issued by the Collector of Customs in this case were not general warrants for they identified the stores to be searched, described the articles to be seized and specified the provision of the Tariff and Customs Code violated. Upon effecting the seizure of the goods, the Bureau of Customs acquired exclusive jurisdiction not only over the case but also over the goods seized for the purpose of enforcing the tariff and customs laws. Further, a party dissatisfied with the decision of the Collector may appeal to the Commissioner of Customs, whose decision is appealable to the Court of Tax Appeals in the manner and within the period prescribed by law and regulations. The decision of the Court of Tax Appeals may be elevated to the Supreme Court for review. Since Chia did not exhaust his administrative remedies, his recourse to this Court is premature.

20th Century Fox Film Corporation vs. Court of Appeals [GR L-76649-51, 19 August 1988] Third Division, Gutierrez J. (J): 4 concur Facts: In a letter-complaint dated 26 August 1985, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation through counsel sought the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) assistance in the conduct of searches and seizures in connection with the NBIs anti-film piracy campaign. Specifically, the letter-complaint alleged that certain videotape outlets all over Metro Manila are engaged in the unauthorized sale and renting out of copyrighted films in videotape form which constitute a flagrant violation of Presidential Decree 49 (Decree on the Protection of Intellectual Property). Acting on the letter-complaint, the NBI conducted surveillance and investigation of

the outlets pinpointed by the film corporation and subsequently filed 3 applications for search warrants against the video outlets owned by Eduardo M. Barreto, Raul Sagullo, and Fortune Ledesma. The applications were consolidated and heard by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati, Branch 132. On 4 September 1985, the lower court issued the desired search warrants, describing the articles sought to be seized as(c) Television sets, Video Cassettes Recorders, rewinders, tape head cleaners, accessories, equipments and other machines used or intended to be used in the unlawful reproduction, sale, rental/lease, distribution of the above-mentioned video tapes which she is keeping and concealing in the premises abovedescribed.. Armed with the search warrants, the NBI accompanied by the film corporations agents, raided the video outlets and seized the items described therein. An inventory of the items seized was made and left with Barreto, et. al. Acting on a motion to lift search warrants and release seized properties filed by Barreto, et. al., the lower court issued an order dated 8 October 1985, lifting the 3 search warrants issued earlier against them by the court, due to the failure of the NBI to deliver the articles to the Court, and thus ordered the return of the articles to their respective owners. The lower court denied a motion for reconsideration filed by the film corporation in its order dated 2 January 1986. The film corporation filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals to annul the orders of the lower court. The petition was dismissed. The 20th Century Fox Film Corporation filed the petition for review with the Supreme Court. Issue: Whether the inclusion of certain articles of property which are usually connected to legitimate business, and not involving piracy of intellectual property or infringement of copyright laws, renders the warrant to be unreasonable.

Held: Television sets, video cassette recorders, rewinders and tape cleaners are articles which can be found in a video tape store engaged in the legitimate business of lending or renting out betamax tapes. In short, these articles and appliances are generally connected with, or related to a legitimate business not necessarily involving piracy of intellectual property or infringement of copyright laws. Hence, including these articles without specification and/or particularity that they were really instruments in violating an Anti-Piracy law makes the search warrant too general which could result in the confiscation of all items found in any video store. In fact, this actually happened in the present case. Although the applications and warrants themselves covered certain articles of property usually found in a video store, the Court believes that the search party should have confined themselves to articles that are according to them, evidence constitutive of infringement of copyright laws or the piracy of intellectual property, but not to other articles that are usually connected with, or related to, a legitimate business, not involving piracy of intellectual property, or infringement of copyright laws. So that a television set, a rewinder, and a whiteboard listing Betamax tapes, video cassette cleaners video cassette recorders as reflected in the Returns of Search Warrants, are items of legitimate business engaged in the video tape industry, and which could not be the subject of seizure. The applicant and his agents therefore exceeded their authority in seizing perfectly legitimate personal property usually found in a video cassette store or business establishment. The search and seizure is unreasonable.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. CHRISTOPHER CHOI (G.R. No. 152950 August 3, 2006)

D ECISIO N CORONA, J .: This petition for review on certiorari 1 seeks the reversal of the decision 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) dated April 10, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 59587, the dispositive portion of which read: WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is GRANTED. Search Warrant No. 9917 is deemed NULL and VOID and SET ASIDE. Respondent ATTY. BENNY NICDAO is prohibited from using in evidence the articles seized by virtue of Search Warrant No. 99-17 in Crim. Case No. I.S. No. 99-8116. SO ORDERED.3

It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned, after examining under oath in the form of searching and probing questions, the applicant, MARIO P. NIETO, Intelligence Operative, Economic Intelligence Investigation Bureau, Department of Finance, and his witnesses Max Cavalera and David Lee Sealey that there are good and sufficient reasons to believe that Christopher Choi of No. 25-13 Columbia Street, Carmenville Subd., Angeles City has in his possession, control and custody [r]eams and packs of fake Marlboro Red Cigarettes, as well as cardboard cases of fake Marlboro Red Cigarettes (each cardboard case contains two (2) [m]aster [c]ases of Marlboro and each [m]aster case contains fifty (50) reams) being distributed, kept and sold thereat in violation of Section 168, par. 2 and 3 (a) and (c) in relation to Section 169 of R.A. 8293; You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at anytime of the day or night of the above-premises and forthwith seize and take possession of the aforedescribed items found at the residence/warehouse of Christopher Choi at No. 25-13 Columbia Street, Carmenville Subd., Angeles City. THEREFORE, seize and bring the said articles to the undersigned to be dealt with in accordance with law. You are hereby further directed to submit a return within ten (10) days from today. Given under my hand this 27th day of April, 1999 at Angeles City, Philippines. 7 The search was conducted on the same date.8

were denied by Judge Gatbalite in an order dated November 29, 1999. 11 Reconsideration was likewise denied. 12 On June 19, 2000, respondent filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition 13 before the CA. He alleged that Judge Gatbalite committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to quash the search warrant, arguing that probable cause was not sufficiently established as the examination conducted was not probing and exhaustive and the warrant did not particularly describe the place to be searched. Respondent also prayed that Atty. Bennie Nicdao 14 be prohibited from using as evidence the articles seized by virtue of the search warrant. This was granted by the CA in a decision dated April 10, 2002. According to the CA, in determining whether there was probable cause to believe that the cigarettes purchased by Nieto were fake and in violation of RA 8293, 15 Judge Gatbalite failed to ask searching and probing questions of witness David Lee Sealey. 16 The examination of Sealey went this way: Court: Q There was testimony here given by Mr. Mario Nieto and Max Cavalera, that fake Marlboro cigarettes bought by them from Michael Chua, Christopher Choi and Johnny Chang were turned over to you for examination, is that correct? A Yes, your Honor. Q After the same had been turned over to you, what did you do with the said merchandise, if you did anything? A I examined the sample of cigarettes and their packaging bearing the Marlboro Trade Marks

The factual antecedents follow. On April 27, 1999, Mario P. Nieto, Intelligence Operative of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau, Department of Finance, applied for a search warrant with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Angeles City, Pampanga, Branch 56, 4 against respondent Christopher Choi for violation of Section 168, paragraphs 2 and 3 (a) and (c), in relation to Section 169 of RA 8293, 5 also known as the Intellectual Property Code. 6 After examination of the applicant and his witnesses, namely, Max Cavalera and David Lee Sealey, Judge Lourdes F. Gatbalite issued Search Warrant No. 99-17 dated April 27, 1999 worded as follows: TO ANY PEACE OFFICER: G r e e t i n g s:

On May 12, 1999, respondent filed a "motion to quash search warrant" 9 and a "supplemental motion to quash" 10 on June 22, 1999. Both

which were suspected to be produc[ed] and manufactured by La Suerte or [with] the permission of Philip Morris. Q What was the result of your examination? A Based on the packaging of the packs, the color of the box and the printing on the front side of the packs and the cigarettes themselves, I concluded that they are counterfeit or unauthorized product[s]. Q Do you have any knowledge of this person named Christopher Choi? A None, your Honor. Q There is an affidavit here marked as exhibit, executed by one David Lee Sealey, do you know this David Lee Sealey? A Yes, your Honor, I am the one. Q Whose signature is this appearing on the printed name David Lee Sealey? A This is my signature, your Honor. Q Do you affirm and confirm other contents of this affidavit? A Yes, your Honor. Court: Thats all.17

present the alleged fake Marlboro cigarettes and the genuine ones for comparison, instead of relying on his testimony alone. The CA reasoned that this was an absolute requirement under the Supreme Court ruling in 20th Century Fox Film Corporation v. Court of Appeals. 18 Hence, this petition. The People of the Philippines aver that the CA erred in finding that Judge Gatbalite committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the search warrant allegedly because she failed to determine probable cause pursuant to Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court. 19The People assail the finding of the CA that, in issuing the search warrant, Judge Gatbalite purportedly did not comply strictly with the requirement to determine the existence of probable cause by personally examining the applicant and his witnesses through searching questions and answers. The People also assert that the CA erred in applying the doctrine in 20th Century Fox Film Corporation 20 since it had already been superseded by Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Court of Appeals. 21 We rule for the People of the Philippines. Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 126 state: Sec. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines. Sec. 5. Examination of complainant; record. The judge must, before issuing the warrant,

personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted. According to the foregoing provisions, a search warrant can be issued only upon a finding of probable cause. Probable cause means such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched. 22 The determination of the existence of probable cause requires the following: (1) the judge must examine the complainant and his witnesses personally; (2) the examination must be under oath and (3) the examination must be reduced in writing in the form of searching questions and answers. 23 The searching questions propounded to the applicant and the witnesses depend largely on the discretion of the judge. Although there is no hard-and-fast rule governing how a judge should conduct his examination, it is axiomatic that the examination must be probing and exhaustive, not merely routinary, general, peripheral, perfunctory or pro-forma. 24 The judge must not simply rehash the contents of the affidavit but must make his own inquiry on the intent and justification of the application. 25 The questions should not merely be repetitious of the averments stated in the affidavits or depositions of the applicant and the witnesses. 26 If the judge fails to determine probable cause by personally examining the

In addition, the CA ruled that Judge Gatbalite committed grave abuse of discretion when she merely relied on the conclusion of Sealey that the cigarettes he received from Nieto were fake. She should have at least required Sealey to

applicant and his witnesses in the form of searching questions before issuing a search warrant, grave abuse of discretion is committed. 27 The determination of probable cause does not call for the application of rules and standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. As the term implies, probable cause is concerned with probability, not absolute or even moral certainty. The standards of judgment are those of a reasonably prudent man, not the exacting calibrations of a judge after a full-blown trial. 28 No law or rule states that probable cause requires a specific kind of evidence. No formula or fixed rule for its determination exists. 29 Probable cause is determined in the light of conditions obtaining in a given situation. 30 The entirety of the questions propounded by the court and the answers thereto must be considered by the judge. 31 In this case, aside from the testimony of Sealey, petitioner judge also heard the testimony of applicant Nieto: Q: In connection with Search Warrant 99-17, are you the same Mario Nieto who is the applicant in this application for search warrant filed today April 27, 1999? A: Yes, your Honor. Q: Do you know this Christopher Choi referred to herein? A: Yes, your Honor. Q: Why do you know him? A: He was introduced to us by Michael Chua, your Honor.

Q: As what? A: As the supplier for the goods. Q: Subject of the application? A: Yes, your Honor, in violation of Section 169 of R.A. 8293. Q: How did you know him? A: When I was conducting a test-buy operation against Mr. Michael Chua, Mr. Michael Chua told me that the bulk of supply if we need more supply we can get from the source, a certain Christopher Choi, who lives in the same village and who is actually the supplier for the entire region. Q: Where did you see him. This Christopher Choi? A: I went to his house, your Honor. Q: Where? A: At No. 25-13 Columbia St., Carmenville Subd., Angeles City, Pampanga. Q: Upon arriving at the place what did you do? A: Upon arriving at the place, your Honor, I introduced myself as the one who was referred by a certain Michael Chua who is interested in buying the Marlboro cigarettes from him and he accommodated me and showed me the sample that he has and I was able to procure the samples from him, the samples that like what we did to the others were inspected by certain Mr. David Lee Sealey, the representative and authority from the Philip Morris.

Q: Did you actually buy those samples? A: Yes, your Honor, I got the samples form Mr. Christopher Choi and I submitted them to Mr. David Lee Sealey. Q: How many Marlboro cigarettes did you buy? A: We bought only one ream, P17.00 per pack. Q: Do you know from what particular place the house of Christopher Choi did he got (sic) those samples? A: The volume stocks were found inside the house, they are almost everywhere in the house of Christopher Choi. Q: There is a sketch here attached to your application, can you point it out here? A: Yes, your Honor, at the warehouse, in the storage room as shown in the lay out of the house, it is adjacent to the residential house as shown in the sketch. Q: You went to the warehouse? A: We were shown [the] entire area by the supplier, Christopher Choi. As a matter of fact he was trying to show us how much volume he has and his capacity to supply. 32 Max Cavalera, a witness who accompanied Nieto during the "test-buy" operation, 33 also testified: Q How about this Christopher Choi? A As Ive said earlier, he was one of those identified by the informant storing and selling counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes, so on April 22, 1999 we conducted a surveillance and we were

able to confirm that the said cigarettes are being stored at the subject place. Q At what place? A At 25-13 Columbia St., Carmenville Subd., Angeles City. On April 23, 1999 at about 8:30 p.m., Mario Nieto and I again went to the subject place to conduct a test-buy operation. [A]fter Mr. Choi had been convinced of our intention to buy cigarettes from him, he brought us to his warehouse where he showed to us several cardboard cases of Marlboro cigarettes. 34 Given the foregoing testimonies and applying the established standards in determining probable cause, we cannot say that Judge Gatbalite committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the search warrant. Her questions were sufficiently probing, not at all superficial and perfunctory. The testimonies were consistent with each other and the narration of facts was credible. The testimonies and other evidence on record constituted adequate bases to establish probable cause that the alleged offense had been committed. Since probable cause is dependent largely on the opinion and findings of the judge who conducted the examination and who had the opportunity to question the applicant and his witnesses, 35 the findings of the judge deserve great weight. The reviewing court can overturn such findings only upon proof that the judge disregarded the facts before him or ignored the clear dictates of reason. 36 We thus find no reason to disturb Judge Gatbalites findings. Furthermore, as correctly pointed out by petitioners, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, insofar as it required the presentation of the master tapes for comparison with the pirated

copies for a search warrant to issue, had already been superseded by Columbia Pictures, Inc. v. Court of Appeals: More to the point, it is felt that the reasonableness of the added requirement in 20th Century Fox calling for the production of the master tapes of the copyrighted films for determination of probable cause in copyright infringement cases needs revisiting and clarification. xxx xxx xxx In fine, the supposed pronunciamento in said case regarding the necessity for the presentation of the master tapes of the copyrighted films for the validity of search warrants should at most be understood to merely serve as a guidepost in determining the existence of probable cause in copyright infringement cases where there is doubt as to the true nexus between the master tape and the pirated copies. An objective and careful reading of the decision in said case could lead to no other conclusion than that said directive was hardly intended to be a sweeping and inflexible requirement in all or similar copyright infringement cases. Judicial dicta should always be construed within the factual matrix of their parturition, otherwise a careless interpretation thereof could unfairly fault the writer with the vice of overstatement and the reader with the fallacy of undue generalization. xxx xxx xxx It is evidently incorrect to suggest, as the ruling in 20th Century Fox may appear to do, that in copyright infringement cases, the presentation of master tapes of the copyrighted films is always necessary to meet the requirement of probable cause and

that, in the absence thereof, there can be no finding of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant. It is true that such master tapes are object evidence, with the merit that in this class of evidence the ascertainment of the controverted fact is made through demonstrations involving the direct use of the senses of the presiding magistrate. Such auxiliary procedure, however, does not rule out the use of testimonial or documentary evidence, depositions, admissions or other classes of evidence tending to prove the factum probandum, especially where the production in court of object evidence would result in delay, inconvenience or expenses out of proportion to its evidentiary value. xxx xxx xxx Accordingly, to restrict the exercise of discretion by a judge by adding a particular requirement (the presentation of master tapes, as intimated by 20th Century Fox) not provided nor implied in the law for a finding of probable cause is beyond the realm of judicial competence or statesmanship. It serves no purpose but to stultify and constrict the judicious exercise of a courts prerogatives and to denigrate the judicial duty of determining the existence of probable cause to a mere ministerial or mechanical function. There is, to repeat, no law or rule which requires that the existence of probable cause is or should be determined solely by a specific kind of evidence. Surely, this could not have been contemplated by the framers of the Constitution, and we do not believe that the Court intended the statement in 20th Century Foxregarding master tapes as the dictum for all seasons and reasons in infringement cases. 37 (emphasis supplied) It is obvious that 20th Century Fox Film Corporation should not be applied to the present case since this involves the offense of unfair

competition and not copyright infringement. More importantly, as pronounced by the Court in Columbia Pictures, Inc., the judges exercise of discretion should not be unduly restricted by adding a requirement that is not sanctioned by law. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated April 10, 2002 in CA-G.R. SP No. 59587 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Judgment is hereby rendered declaring Search Warrant No. 99-17 as VALID. SO ORDERED.

Investigation, Cagayan Valley Regional Office Ilagan, Isabela hereby requests that a Search Warrant be issued on the Office of the Registry (sic) of Deeds, Provincial Capitol, Alibaga, Iligan for the purpose of seizing the following documents, to wit: 01. Undetermined number of FAKE LAND TITLES, Official Receipts in the Cashier's Office, Judicial Form No. 39 known as Our Primary Entry Book under no. 496 and other pertinent documents related therewith; 02. Blank Forms of Land Titles kept inside the drawers of every table of employees of the Registry (sic) of Deeds; 03. Undetermined number of Land Transfer transactions without the corresponding payment of Documentary Stamps and Capital Gains Tax. all of which documents are being used or intended to be used in the commission of a felony that is FALSIFICATION OF LAND TITLES under Article 171, Revised Penal Code, Article 213, RPC and R.A. 3019 (Anti-Graft) and are hidden or being kept in the said office. This application is founded on a confidential information received by the undersigned, a peace officer, on information which I have personally

investigated and founded as follows: The Office of the Registry (sic) of Deeds of Isabela is keeping and hiding Fake Land Titles, and embezzling or stealing from the government thru non-payment of Capital Gains Tax and Documentary Stamps. That upon the facts above-stated, I have caused to believe and verily believe that the said Office of the Registry (sic) of Deeds located at the Provincial Capital, Alibagu, Ilagan, Isabela and/or in the said Office of the Registry (sic) of Deeds the abovedescribed documents are hidden and kept.2 On the same date, Presiding Judge Isaac R. de Alban issued Search Warrant No. 2000-03 against the petitioner, thusly worded: TO ANY PEACE OFFICER: GREETINGS: It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned after examining under oath NBI Head Agent Franklin M. Javier and his witness that there are reasonable grounds to believe that Falsification of Land Titles under Art. 171, Revised Penal Code, Article 213, RPC and R.A 3019 (Anti-Graft) has been committed or is about to be committed and that there are good and sufficient reasons to believe that the Registry (sic) of Deeds, Provincial Capitol, Alibagu, Ilagan, Isabela has in its possession and control the following: 1. Undetermined number of Fake Land Titles, Official Receipts in the

ARIEL C. VALLEJO vs. COURT OF APPEALS (G.R. No. 156413 April 14, 2004) CALLEJO SR., J .: This is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended, to review and reverse the Resolution1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 24265 dismissing the petitioner's petition as well as its Resolution dated November 28, 2002 denying the motion to admit petition for certiorari. Factual Antecedents The petitioner is a lawyer in the Register of Deeds of the province of Isabela. On February 16, 2000, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Agent, Franklin M. Javier, filed a sworn application for search warrant before the Regional Trial Court of Iligan, Isabela, Branch 16, worded as follows: COMES NOW the undersigned HEAD AGENT of the National Bureau of

Cashier's Office, Judicial Form No. 39 known as Primary Entry Book under No. 496 and other pertinent documents related therewith; 2. Blank Forms of Land Titles kept inside the drawers of every table of employees of the Registry (sic) of Deeds; 3. Undetermined number of land Transfer transactions without the corresponding payment of Capital Gains Tax and payment of documentary Stamps. You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search anytime of the day or night of the premises above-mentioned and forthwith seize and take possession of the above mentioned documents/subject of the offense and bring to this court said documents and persons to be dealt with as the law may direct. You are further directed to submit return within 10 days from today.3 On February 17, 2000, the petitioner filed a motion to quash the search warrant, which the trial court denied in its Order dated February 29, 2000. The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the said order on the ground that the questioned search warrant was in the form of a general warrant for failure to describe the persons or things to be seized and was violative of the Constitution; hence, null and void. The motion was, likewise, denied for lack of merit. On May 4, 2000, the petitioner filed a notice of appeal and prayed that the entire record of the

case be elevated to the Court of Appeals. The case was docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 24265. In a Resolution dated September 6, 2000, the appellate court dismissed the petitioner's appeal as follows: The appealed order denying a motion to quash the search warrant is interlocutory and not appealable. Accordingly, the appeal is hereby DISMISSED. (Rule 41, Sec. 1 (c); Rule 50, Sec. 1 (i) and Sec. 2, 2nd paragraph, in relation to Rule 124, Sec. 18, Revised Rules of Court). SO ORDERED.4 The petitioner filed a motion to admit petition for certiorari on August 29, 2000 before the Court of Appeals. Respondent Franklin M. Javier, for and in behalf of the NBI, filed his comment on the petition where he alleged his version of the facts as follows: 4.1 On 08 December 1999, the undersigned received a "tip-off" (i.e. from the respondent himself, ATTY. ARIEL VALLEJO) about the presence of "fixers" who were allegedly submitting to him fake titles; 4.2 The undersigned together with other operatives of the Cagayan Valley Regional Office (CAVRO) NBI, Isabela, Ilagan, conducted surveillance and entrapment operations to confirm the veracity of reported, (sic) As a result thereof, the "fixer" was later apprehended in "flagrante delicto" and

was subjected to investigation together with other employees of the Register of Deeds of Ilagan, Isabela; 4.3 Thereafter a certain, MS. REMEDIOS BIRI, a clerk assigned at the Register of Deeds of Isabela, volunteered to provide CAVRO operatives vital information and later on turned witness considering her knowledge of the "scheme" being used by corrupt employees assigned at the said office; 4.4. On 16 February 2000, after confirming information relayed to us by witness MS. REMEDIOS BIRI, the undersigned applied for a search warrant against the Office of the Register of Deeds, Ilagan, Isabela for Falsification of Public Document under Art. 171 of the Revised Penal Code. The respondent presiding Judge HON. ISAAC DE ALBAN of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 16, Isabela, Ilagan finding the existence of "probable cause" issued Search Warrant No. 2000-03; 4.5 On 16 February 2000, operatives of CAVRO headed by the undersigned served aforecited search warrant. Found and seized inside the premises of the Register of Deeds if Ilagan, Isabela were several fake titles/documents; On 2 March 2000, a Return of the search warrant was made informing the respondent presiding judge of its positive findings; 5 Respondent Javier asserted that contrary to the position of the petitioner, the things to be seized were particularly described in the questioned warrant. Furthermore, considering the volume of the documents to be seized, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to provide the court with the

technical descriptions of all the official receipts and the titles, including the reference number or mark of the documents. To require such task is to render the application of the search warrant nil, as no such search warrant could be granted. According to respondent Javier, there was no way that the court could determine with precision the exact details of the things to be seized. The law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute details as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities.6 Respondent Javier also posited that the article "Judicial Form No. 39 known as the Primary Entry Book" could not or would not have been mistaken for any other documents; similarly the "Blank Forms of Land Titles kept inside the drawer of every table of employees of the Register of Deeds" clearly indicates the documents to be seized.7 The Court of Appeals denied the petitioner's motion in its Resolution dated November 28, 2002 on the following grounds:

countenanced. He admitted that his petition was filed beyond the reglementary period. The correct dismissal of an appeal becomes a final judgment of the appellate court after the lapse of 15 days from service of a copy thereof upon the accused or his counsel.

PETITIONER'S APPEAL ON THE RESPONDENT'S REGIONAL TRIAL COURT'S ORDER DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO QUASH SEARCH WARRANT; B. DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO ADMIT PETITION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT, SEEKING TO CORRECT THE ERROR OF JURISDICTION COMMITTED BY THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, AS THERE WAS GRAVE ABUSE OF JUDICIAL DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO EXCESS OR LACK OF JURISDICTION IN DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE SAID REGIONAL TRIAL COURT'S ORDER DENYING THE MOTION TO QUASH SEARCH WARRANT; C. FAILING TO APPRECIATE AND CONSIDER SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE ON PETITIONER'S APPEAL OR CASE, AND BY REASON OF THIS FAILURE SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE IS SERIOUSLY INJURED AND MADE SUBSERVIENT TO THE TECHNICALITY OF THE RULES; D. FAILING TO ACT UPON PETITIONER'S PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND MAKE A RULING ON THE MATTER OF THE PATENT NULLITY OF THE SEARCH WARRANT ISSUED BY THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT THAT IN ITS EXECUTION EXTREME PREJUDICE RESULTED AND THAT BY REASON FOR WHICH RELIEF IS EXTREMELY URGENT;9 According to the petitioner, by its failure to consider the petition on the merits, the Court of Appeals allowed technicality rather than

Third. Movant cannot simultaneously or alternately resort to a petition for review under Rule 45 (ordinary appeal) and/or petition for certiorari under Rule 65 (special civil action). They are mutually exclusive remedies having different legal grounds for their availment. Thus, the dismissed appeal cannot be incorporated with movant's petition for certiorari which should have been first resorted to upon denial of his motion to quash and docketed as a special civil action (SP).ACCORDINGLY, the motion for reconsideration and the motion to admit petition for certiorari are DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.8 Hence, the instant petition. The Petitioner's Arguments The petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in committing the following: A. DENYING PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION ON THE RESOLUTION OF THE RESPONDENT HON. COURT OF APPEALS DISMISSING

First. We earlier dismissed movant's appeal because it was a wrong choice of remedy to assail an order denying a motion to quash the search warrant. Movant himself has conceded that:"the relief that was resorted to by your appellant from the denial of his motion to quash search warrant subject of the case was under the imports of an ordinary appeal and that it was not the proper remedy under the premises."

Second. Movant's petition for certiorari under rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure purportedly to cure the procedural defect he incurred cannot be

substantial justice to prevail, considering that the issue involved is a constitutional right, no less than the right of one to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. The petitioner claims that in the implementation of the questioned search warrant, damages of far reaching implications were sustained not only in the functional operations of the Office of the Register of Deeds, but also in the business transactions involving lands in the province of Isabela. According to the petitioner, millions of documents of various nature were seized and hauled out of the premises of the office by the respondent Javier, which continue to be in the latter's custody. The petitioner further asserts that the search warrant issued by the RTC is in the nature of a general warrant. There was no particularity as to what documents were to be searched and seized. While the warrant made mention of "fake land titles," there was no mention of which titles were spurious. The petitioner points out that the Register of Deeds is the repository of all land titles within the territorial jurisdiction of the province of Isabela, and millions of such titles are kept thereat. The phrase "undetermined number of land transfer transactions without the corresponding payment of capital gains tax and payment of documentary stamps" is, likewise, a dangerous supposition, as there are millions of documents on various land transactions kept in the registry. Anent the phrase "blank forms of land titles kept inside the drawers of every table of employees of the Register of Deeds," the petitioner asserts that no conceivable wrong could have been committed therein, as it was the normal practice for employees to have such blank forms in hand, in preparation for their issuance after thorough examination of the propriety of documents submitted in support thereof. However, the petitioner asserts that not every employee can take hold of such blank

forms but only those designated as examiners. There was no mention in the warrant of the names of the employees who purportedly kept the blank forms. According to the petitioner, the warrant was a wanton, sweeping authority for the NBI agents who raided the Registry Offices and confiscated and seized every document in sight. It was a "fishing expedition" for the raiding party to obtain any kind of conceivable evidence to support the offense for which it was applied. The petitioner also contends that the warrant is patently objectionable for having been issued despite the fact that the application therefor contained more than one offense, in violation of Article III, Section 2, of the 1987 Constitution. The petitioner concludes that the search warrant in question, being in the nature of a general warrant, violated the constitutional as well as the statutory requirements for its issuance, and as such, is null and void. The Position of the Office of the Solicitor General 10 The Office of the Solicitor General, for its part, agrees with the petitioner and opines that the strict application of the rules of procedure should be relaxed in this case. The OSG also asserts that it cannot sustain the questioned CA Resolutions of September 6, 2000 and November 28, 2002 for the reason that the subject search warrant is a patent nullity. It submitted the following reasons for such conclusion: First. The subject search warrant issued by the RTC was not just for one offense, but for at least three offenses, namely: violation of a)

Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (Falsification by public officer, employee or notary or ecclesiastical minister); b) Article 213 of the same Code (Frauds against the public treasury and similar offenses); and, c) Rep. Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). Second. The things to be seized were not particularly described in the search warrant, leaving the officer of the law with limitless discretion in its implementation on what articles to seize. Third. From the contents of the search warrant itself, the raiding team could not have distinguished which of the land titles kept in the custody of the Register of Deeds in Iligan, Isabela were fake, and which of them were genuine. The warrant did not define the parameters upon which the fake land titles could be gauged with sufficient clarity and definiteness, such as distinguishing marks. Fourth. The issue regarding the validity of a Torrens title is a judicial question. Thus, the OSG prays that the instant petition be granted. The Court's Ruling The issues in this case are as follows: a) whether or not the technical rules of procedure may be relaxed in the case at bar; and, if so b) whether or not the warrant issued by the RTC was valid.

A Relaxation of Technical Rules Is Warranted in this CaseAccording to the OSG, the petitioner's motion to admit petition for certiorari was filed beyond the

sixty-day reglementary period. The petitioner received a copy of the trial court's Order dated February 29, 2000 denying the motion to quash search warrant on March 6, 2000. Thus, he had only until May 5, 2000 within which to file a petition for certiorari. Realizing that the appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court he earlier filed with the Court of Appeals was not the proper remedy, the petitioner filed his motion to admit petition for certiorari only on August 29, 2000, way beyond the reglementary period. However, considering that the petitioner has presented a good cause for the proper and just determination of his case, the appellate court should have relaxed the stringent application of technical rules of procedure and yielded to considerations of substantial justice. We agree. The Court has allowed some meritorious cases to proceed despite inherent procedural defects and lapses. This is in keeping with the principle that rules of procedure are mere tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice and that strict and rigid application of rules which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice must always be avoided.11 It is a far better and more prudent cause of action for the court to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a review of the case to attain the ends of justice, rather than dispose of the case on technicality and cause grave injustice to the parties, giving a false impression of speedy disposal of cases while actually resulting in more delay, if not a miscarriage of justice.12 The issue involved in this case is no less than the legality of the issuance of a warrant of arrest.13 It behooved the Court of Appeals to look past rules of technicality and to resolve the case on its merits, considering that the petitioner therein was invoking a constitutional right. The appellate court should have, thus, considered the petitioner's appeal under Rule 45

of the Rules of Court, as a special civil action forcertiorari under Rule 65 of the said Rules. Thus, in dismissing the petitioner's appeal, and, thereafter, the motion to admit petition forcertiorari, the appellate court gravely abused its discretion. Indeed, the court has discretion to dismiss or not to dismiss an appeal, but such discretion must be a sound one, to be exercised in accordance with the tenets of justice and fair play, having in mind the circumstances obtaining in each case.14 The consequence of our ruling would be for the Court to direct the Court of Appeals to resolve on its merits CA-G.R. No. 24265 by delving into and resolving the issue raised therein on whether or not Judge de Alban of the RTC of Isabela, Branch 16, committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing Search Warrant No. 200003. However, such step would unduly prolong the resolution of the case. We shall act on the petition, considering that the lone issue raised is one of law, and an invocation of a constitutional right at that. It is an accepted rule that the Court may resolve the dispute and serve the ends of justice instead of remanding the case to the lower court for further proceedings, if, based on the records, pleadings, and other evidence, the matter can readily be ruled upon.15 We take cognizance of this petition in view of the seriousness and urgency of the constitutional issues raised.16

searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no such search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. Furthermore, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure provides the requisites for the issuance of a search warrant, viz.: Sec. 4. Requisites for issuing search warrant. A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines. Sec. 5. Examination of complainant; record. The judge must, before issuing the warrant, personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers, in writing and under oath, the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements, together with the affidavits submitted. Thus, in issuing a search warrant, the judge must strictly comply with the foregoing constitutional and statutory requirements;

The Search Warrant in Question is Constitutionally Infirm; Void for Lack of ParticularitySection 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution guarantees the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Sec 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable

failure to comply therewith constitutes grave abuse of discretion.17 The things to be seized must be described with particularity. Technical precision of description is not required. It is only necessary that there be reasonable particularity and certainty as to the identity of the property to be searched for and seized, so that the warrant shall not be a mere roving commission.18 Indeed, the law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute detail as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities. If this were the rule, it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a warrant as they would not know exactly what kind of things to look for.19 Any description of the place or thing to be searched that will enable the officer making the search with reasonable certainty to locate such place or thing is sufficient.20 However, the requirement that search warrants shall particularly describe the things to be seized makes general searches under them impossible and prevents the seizure of one thing under a warrant describing another. As to what is to be taken, nothing is left to the discretion of the officer executing the warrant.21 Thus, the specific property to be searched for should be so particularly described as to preclude any possibility of seizing any other property.22 A perusal of the tenor of the search warrant in question readily shows that it failed to pass this test of particularity. The questioned warrant directed the peace officers to search and seize the following in the petitioner's office at the Register of Deeds of Isabela: 4. Undetermined number of Fake Land Titles, Official Receipts in the Cashier's Office, Judicial Form No. 39 known as Primary Entry Book under No. 496 and

other pertinent documents related therewith; 5. Blank Forms of Land Titles kept inside the drawers of every table of employees of the Registry of Deeds; 6. Undetermined number of land Transfer transactions without the corresponding payment of Capital Gains Tax and payment of Documentary Stamps.23 As correctly pointed out by the petitioner and the OSG, the terms expressly used in the warrant were too all-embracing, with the obvious intent of subjecting all the records pertaining to all the transactions of the petitioner's office at the Register of Deeds to search and seizure. Such tenor of a seizure warrant contravenes the explicit command of the Constitution that there be a particular description of the things to be seized.24 The executing officer's sole function is to apply the description to its subject matter, which function may frequently involve the exercise of limited discretion in identifying the property described. A description of such generality, however, as to lodge in the executing officer virtually unlimited discretion as to what property shall be seized, is repugnant to the Constitution.25 As we held in the early case ofPeople v. Veloso:26 A search warrant must conform strictly to the requirements of the constitutional and statutory provisions under which it was issued. Otherwise, it is void. The proceedings upon search warrants, it has rightly been held, must be absolutely legal, for there is not a description of process known to law, the execution of which is more distressing to the citizen. Perhaps there is none which excites such intense feeling in

consequence of its humiliating and degrading effect. The warrant will always be construed strictly without, however, going into the full length of requiring technical accuracy. No presumptions of regularity are to be invoked in aid of the process when an officer undertakes to justify under it.27

The Search Warrant Must Be Issued for One Specific OffenseThe questioned warrant in this case is a scattershot warrant28 for having been issued for more than one offense - Falsification of Land Titles under Article 171 and Article 213 of the Revised Penal Code, and violation of Rep. Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. A warrant must be issued upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense.29 In fact, a careful perusal of the application for the warrant shows that the applicant did not allege any specific act performed by the petitioner constituting a violation of any of the aforementioned offenses.. Thus, the questioned warrant must be struck down for having been issued in contravention of the 1987 Constitution, the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and existing jurisprudence. As the Court, through Justice Concepcion held in the landmark case of Stonehill v. Diokno:30 To uphold the validity of the warrant in question would be to wipe out completely one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed in our Constitution, for it would place the sanctity of the domicile and the privacy of communication and correspondence at the mercy of the whims, caprice, or passion of peace officers. This is precisely the evil sought to be remedied

by the constitutional provision abovequoted to outlaw the so-called general warrants. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen, in times of keen political strife, when the party in power feels that the minority is likely to wrest it, even though by legal means. 31 WHEREFORE, the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals dated September 6, 2000 and November 28, 2002 are SET ASIDE AND REVERSED. The respondent National Bureau of Investigation is hereby ORDERED to return to the petitioner all items seized from the subject premises. SO ORDERED. People vs. Sucro [GR 93239, 18 March 1991] Third Division, Gutierrez Jr. (J): 4 concur Facts: On 21 March 1989, Pat. Roy Fulgencio, a member of the INP, Kalibo, Aklan, was instructed by P/Lt. Vicente Seraspi, Jr. (Station Commander of the INP Kalibo, Aklan) to monitor the activities of Edison Sucro, because of information gathered by Seraspi that Sucro was selling marijuana. As planned, at about 5:00 P.M. on said date, Pat. Fulgencio positioned himself under the house of a certain Arlie Regalado at C. Quimpo Street. Adjacent to the house of Regalado, about 2 meters away, was a chapel. Thereafter, Pat. Fulgencio saw Sucro enter the chapel, taking something which turned out later to be marijuana from the compartment of a cart found inside the chapel, and then return to the street where he handed the same to a buyer, Aldie Borromeo. After a while Sucro went back to the chapel and again came out with marijuana which he gave to a group of persons. It was at this instance that Pat. Fulgencio radioed P/Lt. Seraspi and reported the activity going on P/Lt. Seraspi instructed Pat. Fulgencio to continue monitoring developments.

At about 6:30 P.M., Pat. Fulgencio again called up Seraspi to report that a third buyer later identified as Ronnie Macabante, was transacting with Sucro. At that point, the team of P/Lt Seraspi proceeded to the area and while the police officers were at the Youth Hostel at Maagma St., Pat. Fulgencio told P/Lt. Seraspi to intercept Macabante and Sucro. P/ Lt. Seraspi and his team caught up with Macabante at the crossing of Mabini and Maagma Sts. in front of the Aklan Medical Center. Upon seeing the police, Macabante threw something to the ground which turned out to be a tea bag of marijuana. When confronted, Macabante readily admitted that he bought the same from Sucro in front of the chapel. The police team was able to overtake and arrest Sucro at the corner of C. Quimpo and Veterans Sts. The police recovered 19 sticks and 4 teabags of marijuana from the cart inside the chapel and another teabag from Macabante. The teabags of marijuana were sent to the PC-INP Crime Laboratory Service, at Camp Delgado, Iloilo City for analysis. The specimens were all found positive of marijuana. Sucro was charged with violation of Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act. Upon arraignment, Sucro, assisted by counsel, entered a plea of not guilty to the offense charged. Trial ensued and a judgment of conviction was rendered, finding Sucro guilty of the sale of prohibited drug and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment, and pay a fine of P20,000, and costs. Sucro appealed. Issue: Whether the arrest without warrant of the accused is lawful and consequently, whether the evidence resulting from such arrest is admissible. Held: Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure provides for the instances where arrest without warrant is considered lawful. The rule states that A peace officer or private person may, without warrant, arrest a person: (a) When in his presence, the person to

be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; (b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it; An offense is committed in the presence or within the view of an officer, within the meaning of the rule authorizing an arrest without a warrant, when the officer sees the offense, although at a distance, or hears the disturbances created thereby and proceeds at once to the scene thereof. The failure of the police officers to secure a warrant stems from the fact that their knowledge acquired from the surveillance was insufficient to fulfill the requirements for the issuance of a search warrant. What is paramount is that probable cause existed. Still, that searches and seizures must be supported by a valid warrant is not an absolute rule. Among the exceptions granted by law is a search incidental to a lawful arrest under Sec. 12, Rule 126 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, which provides that a person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search warrant. Herein, police officers have personal knowledge of the actual commission of the crime when it had earlier conducted surveillance activities of the accused. Under the circumstances (monitoring of transactions) there existed probable cause for the arresting officers, to arrest Sucro who was in fact selling marijuana and to seize the contraband. Thus, as there is nothing unlawful about the arrest considering its compliance with the requirements of a warrantless arrest; ergo, the fruits obtained from such lawful arrest are admissible in evidence.

People vs. Go [GR 116001, 14 March 2001]; also Go vs. Court of Appeals [GR 123943] First Division, Ynares-Santiago (J): 4 concur Facts: On 22 October 1992, at around 10:00 p.m., SPO1 Mauro Piamonte and SPO3 Candido Liquido, members of the Intelligence and Follow-up Unit of the Calamba Police, went to the police outpost at Crossing, Calamba, Laguna, to follow up an intelligence report that methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, a regulated drug, was being supplied there. Police civilian agent Ronnie Panuringan arrived and reported to them that he saw Luisito Go, also known as King Louie, enter the Flamingo Disco House with two women. Panuringan said that he spotted a gun tucked in Gos waist. Together, the three policemen proceeded to the Flamingo, which was located about a hundred meters away from the outpost. When they arrived at the Flamingo, the police officers informed the owner that they were conducting an Operation Bakal, whereby they search for illegally possessed firearms. The owner allowed them in and told a waiter to accompany them. They went up to the second floor of the disco. The waiter turned on the lights, and the police officers saw Go and his lady companions seated at a table. They identified themselves and asked Go to stand up. When the later did so, the policemen saw the gun tucked in his waist. SPO1 Piamonte asked for the license of the gun, but Go was unable to produce any. Instead, Go brought out the drivers license of a certain Tan Antonio Lerios. SPO1 Piamonte confiscated the gun, which was later identified as a 9mm Walther P88, Serial Number 006784, with a magazine containing 10 rounds of live ammunition. Go was invited to the police precinct for questioning. On the way out of the disco, Go asked permission to bring his car, which was parked outside. The police officers accompanied Go to his car, a Honda Civic with license plate number TCM-789. Through the windshield, SPO3 Liquido noticed a Philippine

National Police identification card hanging from the rearview mirror. He asked Go if he was a member of the PNP, and he said no. The police officers asked Go for his drivers license and the registration papers of the vehicle, but he was unable to produce them. When Go opened the door, SPO3 Liquido took the ID card and found that the same belonged to SPO4 Zenaida Bagadiong. The police officers saw pieces of glass tooters and tin foils on the backseat and floor of the car. They asked Go why he had these items, but he did not say anything. Instead, Go suggested that they talk the matter over, and intimated that he had money. SPO3 Liquido replied that they should talk at the police headquarters. Go took out an attach case from the car and opened it. There were two black clutch bags inside. Go opened the first bag, which contained shiny white substance wrapped in cellophane. The second bag contained P120,000.00 in cash. The police officers brought Go to the police station. When they arrived at the precinct, they turned over the attach case together with the two black clutch bags to the investigator. The investigator found eight cellophane bags containing granules suspected to be shabu in one of the clutch bags. When the attach case was opened, the police officers found that it also contained three glass tooters, tin foils, an improvised burner, magazines and newspapers. Consequently, two Informations were filed against Go before the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, Branch 34 (Criminal Case 3308-92-C, for violation of Article III of RA 6452 or the Dangerous Drugs Act; and Criminal Case 3309-92-C, for violation of PD 1866) After a joint trial, the lower court rendered judgment convicting Go in the two criminal cases, and sentencing him in Criminal Case 3308-92-C to a penalty of imprisonment of 6 years and 1 day to 12 years and a fine of P12,000.00; and in Criminal Case 3309-92-C to suffer an imprisonment of reclusion perpetua. Go appealed his conviction in Criminal Case 3309-

92-C directly to the Supreme Court (GR 116001). On the other hand, Go brought his appeal of the judgment in Criminal Case 330892-C before the Court of Appeals. In an Amended Decision dated 21 February 1996, the Court of Appeals affirmed Gos conviction but modified the penalty imposed by the trial court by sentencing him, in addition to imprisonment of 6 years and 1 day to 12 years, to pay a fine of P6,000.00, citing Section 8 of RA 6425, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. Go filed the petition for review (GR 123943). The two cases were subsequently consolidated. Issue: Whether Go was legally arrested without warrant for illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs. Held: The constitutional proscription, that no person shall be arrested without any warrant of arrest having been issued prior thereto, is not a hard-and-fast rule. The Rules of Court and jurisprudence recognize exceptional cases where an arrest may be effected without a warrant. Among these are when, in the presence of a peace officer, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense; or when an offense has in fact just been committed, and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed it. Herein, the police saw the gun tucked in Gos waist when he stood up. The gun was plainly visible. No search was conducted as none was necessary. Go could not show any license for the firearm, whether at the time of his arrest or thereafter. Thus, he was in effect committing a crime in the presence of the police officers. No warrant of arrest was necessary in such a situation, it being one of the recognized exceptions under the Rules. As a consequence of Gos valid warrantless arrest, he may be lawfully searched for dangerous weapons or anything which may be used as proof of the commission of an offense, without a search

warrant, as provided in Rule 126, Section 12. This is a valid search incidental to the lawful arrest. The subsequent discovery in his car of drug paraphernalia and the crystalline substance, which was later identified as shabu, though in a distant place from where the illegal possession of firearm was committed, cannot be said to have been made during an illegal search. As such, the seized items do not fall within the exclusionary clause, which states that any evidence obtained in vio


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